Chapter 3
Author: Nathan Yospe

"Hey Gang! Let's split up!"
-J. Lennon

   "WHAT!?" I lunged toward the Deveel, heedless of his muscles. A steel bar stopped me before I was halfway there. As I picked myself up off the ground and struggled to recapture my breath, Aahz glared down at me, his arm still outstretched. "Easy, kid," he said in that low voice he uses when he's expecting me to play along with one of his cons, "Just go along with him."

   "But Aahz! He's talking about hiring us to assassinate these people!"

   "Good thing we brought along an assassin, then, isn't it?"

   Tananda winked at me, "Don't worry, we'll get the whole story first. Assassinating people without knowing why is bad business. Only the Gray Guild does that sort of thing."

   "There's more than one assassin's guild? I didn't know that."

   "Well, of course there is. There's the Guild of Atastach, they're the ones that handle religious assassinations, specializing in burning of heretics, and then there is the guild of Lonny Hill, which handles all sorts of political assassinations, and then for your undetectable poisonings, you have... " Tananda's voice droned on, somehow sounding less like her and more like some dry lecturer showing off his store of trivial facts, and I started to drift off.

   "Hey, kid, WAKE UP!" Aahz knocked me forward with a heavy slap in the back, and I shook my head to clear it. "Huh? What? Oh." Dierack was still talking, and Gus and Chumley were listening intently, or at least paying intense attention. Chumley was slowly licking his lips in his "Big Crunch" impression, and Gus had on that million dollar grin of his, the one full of needle sharp stone teeth. It was almost as scary as one of Aahz's grins.

   "Hey, Skeeve, what do you think? The Deveel here wants us to just kill these fellows without attempting any sort of negotiation. What's your take on the matter?"

   "What do you think my take is?" With a growl, I mentally picked Dierack up and tossed him over my shoulder. "We're going to investigate further."

   Aahz silenced me with a glare, and we finished the discussion with Dierack. We left the motel and went out into town.

   Walking beside me, Aahz picked up the conversation again. "Kid, if we take the time to investigate, we'll be forever on this job. Besides, don't you think the Deveels have done their own investigations? Let's just take out these jokers and move on to the next dimension."

   "I don't like this, Aahz. The Deveels must not be telling us everything. When have they ever told us the truth before?"

   "Relax, kid. They gave us the real figures for their profit losses. If there's anything a Deveel would share last, that's it."

   "That's just what worries me, Aahz. If they're willing to share that, can you imagine what they might be hiding? And think of what they are paying us. It almost sounds like we got a deal."

   "Oh. You know, when you put it like that..." Aahz stopped walking and started scratching his scaly head. "Hey Gus, Tanda, Chumley, gather round. War council."

   The crew circled in, and we went into a huddle. "OK, let's get the facts we know out first." Aahz began ticking off on his fingers. "First off, we know that this is multidimensional, so there is someone else behind these local labor yahoos. Yes, Skeeve?" Aahz caught my waving arm out of the corner of his eye.

   "What dimension are Yahoos from?"

   "Kid..." Aahz groaned, face in his hands. "Never mind. The point is, if we just kill off the locals, we have no way of finding out what they know of what's going on here."

   "Right. So, I guess we're going off to talk to them now."

   "Wrong. Now we are going off to infiltrate their organization." Aahz turned to me with a toothy grin. "Do you want to be a lumberjack or a miner?"

Chapter 3 Drawing

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Text Nathan Yospe, 1998
Drawing Robert M. Cook, 1998